Neither Murray or Williams have taken to a court since winning Wimbledon earlier this summer, and Williams in particular knows that there is plenty of competition chasing her. She has already battled with current World No. 2 Angelique Kerber who beat the American for her maiden Grand Slam in Australia this year, before backing it up with a run to the Wimbledon final.
Also one to watch out for is French Open champion Garbiñe Muguruza, who beat Williams in Paris earlier this year, and on their form alone they have to be the ones favoured to come away with hardware at the end of the first week of the Olympics.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is seeking to be the first World No. 1 to scoop the top gilt – Rafael Nadal was ranked World No. 2 when he won the gold in Beiing, and Murray was ranked World No. 4 when he returned to the grass of Wimbledon two weeks after falling in his first Wimbledon final to Federer, beating him in straight set for the gold.
Djokovic achieved the coveted Career Slam when he won the French Open but fell far short in Wimbledon, crashing out in the third round to Sam Querrey. However, he has his eyes on this prize.
As reported by the ITF, Djokovic, who won a record-extended 30th Masters title in Canada, feels he is now ready for something truly unique.
He told reporters in Rio: “I couldn’t ask for a better start to the hard court season, obviously hard court being my most preferred surface.
“Toronto was a great week, no sets lost, and I’m ready. I’m really very much looking forward to the Olympic Games, it’s one of the goals of the season of course.
“It would be probably ranked as one of the highest, or the highest achievement of my career that I would have potentially. But again, I’ve got to stay humble, I’ve got to take a very cautious mindset in preparation to this Olympic Games. I’ve had bronze from Beijing, in London I fell short, but again I always play with my heart and all I have when I play for my country.”
It has already been an outstanding year for Murray. After leading Great Britain to Davis Cup victory, he has made all three Slam finals so far this year, and was courtside as a vital talisman for the British team as they conquered Serbia in Belgrade to book their place in the Davis Cup semi-final.
He became a father in February to Sophia Olivia, and now will have the honour of leading out the British team at the Opening Ceremony. He was told the news by the Team GB Chef de Mission Mark England, and will follow in the footsteps of equally iconic British sports personalities to carry the flag, such as Kate Howey, Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Chris Hoy who did the honours in London.
As reported by Team GB, Murray said: “I am very proud to be selected as the Team GB Flagbearer for the Opening Ceremony on Friday. To represent your country at the Games is an unbelievable experience, but to lead out Team GB will be an incredible honour, the biggest in sport.
“This is my third Olympic Games and it is a very special competition for me. I obviously have great memories of London and I am 100% focused on winning here in Rio. The privilege of being the Flagbearer is a moment I will remember for the rest of my life and will certainly be one of the highlights of my career.
“I hope to do the team proud on Friday and wish all of the British athletes the best of luck for the Games ahead.”
The British Olympic Tennis team is comprised of:
Andy Murray (Singles, Doubles)
Kyle Edmund (Singles)
Jamie Murray (Doubles)
Dominic Inglot (Doubles)
Colin Fleming (Doubles)
Johanna Konta (Singles, Doubles)
Heather Watson (Singles, Doubles)
Olympic Tennis Seeds
Men – Singles
Women – Singles
Novak Djokovic (SRB)
Serena Williams (USA)
Andy Murray (GBR)
Angelique Kerber (GER)
Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP)
Kei Nishikori (JPN)
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
Venus Williams (USA)
Gael Monfils (FRA)
Roberta Vinci (ITA)
David Ferrer (ESP)
Madison Keys (USA)
David Goffin (BEL)
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)
Marin Cilic (CRO)
Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP)
Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)
Johanna Konta (GBR)
Pablo Cuevas (URU)
Petra Kvitova (CZE)
Steve Johnson (USA)
Timea Bacsinszky (SUI)
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)
Samantha Stosur (AUS)
Jack Sock (USA)
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)
Gilles Simon (FRA)
Elina Svitolina (UKR)
Benoit Paire (FRA)
Barbora Strycova (CZE)
Men – Doubles
Women – Doubles
Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut (FRA)
Serena Williams/Venus Williams (USA)
Andy Murray/Jamie Murray (GBR)
Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)
Marcelo Melo/Bruno Soares (BRA)
Chan Hao-Ching/Chan Yung-Jan (TPE)
Gael Monfils/Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
Garbiñe Muguruza/ Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP)
Florin Mergea/Horia Tecau (ROU)
Timea Bacsinszky/Martina Hingis (SUI)
Marc Lopez/Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka (CZE)
Daniel Nestor/Vasek Pospisil (CAN)
Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina (RUS)
Roberto Bautista Agut/David Ferrer (ESP)
Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci (ITA)
The draw will be held on Thursday at 11am (3pm BST).
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